• The Battle for Home: Memoir of a Syrian Architect

The Battle for Home: Memoir of a Syrian Architect

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 "As bombs fell around her, Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni stayed in Homs throughout the civil war, making plans to build hope from carnage. Her ideas are now laid out in a visionary memoir. But will anyone listen?" asked the Guardian back in 2016. How does it look now?

In her extraordinary memoir, The Battle for Home, Marwa fully outlines her fierce attitude of the crucial role that Syria's architecture plays. She suggests architecture divided its once tolerant and multicultural society into single-identity enclaves defined by class and religion. The country's future now depends on how it chooses to rebuild..

Marwa wrote the book as the bombs dropped around her, and then researched possible homes for it on the internet. It comes with a foreword by the philosopher Roger Scruton, who describes its author, not without reason, as one of the most remarkable people he has ever met.

"A visionary memoir. . . extraordinary" - Observer

Information
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson, 2017
  • Paperback, 5.2 x 7.8 in / 208 pages

Reviews

'A visionary memoir. . . extraordinary' - Observer

'An understated gem of a book . . . gripping' - The Spectator

'An angry and personal memoir' - Daily Telegraph

'Incisive … speaks with that particular mix of solicitude and sharp criticism born of true belonging married to broadness of perspective' - Art Review Asia

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The Story

Marwa Al Sabouni

Marwa Al-Sabouni was born in Homs, Syria, a city in the central-western part of the now war-torn country. Despite the destruction of large parts of the city, she has remained in Homs with her husband and two children throughout the Syrian civil war. Al-Sabouni has a PhD in Islamic architecture, and is the author of The Battle for Home, a book that explores the role architecture and the built environment play in whether a community crumbles or comes together, offering insights on how her country might be rebuilt. The Battle for Home was chosen by the Guardian as one of the five best architectural books of 2016. In 2017 we hosted Marwa to talk about her book in London.

What caused the war in Syria? Oppression, drought and religious differences all played key roles, but Marwa Al-Sabouni suggests another reason: architecture. Speaking to us over the Internet from Homs, where for the last six years she has watched the war tear her city apart, Al-Sabouni suggests that Syria's architecture divided its once tolerant and multicultural society into single-identity enclaves defined by class and religion. The country's future now depends on how it chooses to rebuild. Watch Marwa's illuminating TED talk here

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